We were in a Reacher-y mood, so we decided to stick with him! Time to tackle the first installment of the Reacher film franchise – Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child book Oneshot.
Smartass Summary: The one from those books!
Slightly less smartass summary: Guy tries to keep a promise, but lady lawyer distracts him.
Ok ok, REAL summary: Bad guys commit multiple murders, good guy commits multiple murders back. But it’s okay because it’s for JUSTICE.
Buttered Popcorn likes this movie a lot! There’s plenty of action, plenty of humor, and lots of kickass ass-kicking! (Did you see what we did there?) There’s a mystery to be solved, and that keeps us interested, waiting to see what’s next. But most of all, the bad guys get theirs, and the good guys don’t pull their punches. In other words – it’s great!
***Spoilers beyond this point!***
You thought Jack Reacher: Never Go Back had great humorous moments? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! (Or maybe you have, we hope you’ve seen this movie!) Here are a few of our favorite funny moments from the film:
”So you’re Jack Reacher.” We love the part where Reacher, Rodin, Emerson and Helen have their rapid-fire conversation outside Barr’s hospital room. The conversation itself is pretty damn hilarious, but we love the part when, after Emerson and Rodin leave, Helen turns to Reacher and says, “So!” but before she can say anything else, he walks away from her without a word.
“I don’t mind the sight of blood.” Heh. Heh heh heh. Just… go watch the movie and get the punch line, because it’s PRICELESS.
“Remember. You wanted this.” This fight is the BEST thing to hit movies in decades! One of the best things about Reacher, even in the books, is that the bad guys are always underestimating him. They’re always counting on greater numbers to get them victory, but Reacher is a better, smarter fighter and he always gets the job done. The fight with Sandy’s “brothers” outside the bar is classic book-Reacher, and anybody who’s read the books will recognize his signature style – sizing up the situation, understanding human nature, and kicking the SHIT out of the bad guys. This fight is particularly funny, because of Reacher’s casual confidence, and the way he tells his opponents exactly who’s going to fight and who’s going to run. It’s just tons of fun to watch him work!
“Am I stealing your car?” Another big and hilarious fight in the film takes place at Jeb’s house. Two goons try to take Reacher out and end up doing more to help him than to hurt him. It’s physical comedy without being slapstick, and it’s great to watch! But our favorite part is when Reacher disarms a third contender, and “encourages” him (by nearly breaking a finger or two) to give up his car.
“Fine as frog’s hair, and rarer, too.” Basically every interaction between Reacher and Martin Cash, the feisty gun-range owner, is comedy gold. And all his little witticisms are the best. Check them out – play ball!
There are a few deep issues we can see in Jack Reacher – from vigilantism to the concept of freedom and choice, to the morality (or lack thereof) within the legal system. Here are a couple we’d like to highlight.
Freedom is in the eye of the beholder.
When Reacher tells Helen that her client is innocent, she decides he must be delusional. She tells him, “It’s the way you live, the way you move around. You’re just not cut out for the real world, are you?” Reacher’s response is to have Helen look out the window at the people still working in the building across the street.
“Look at the people. Tell me which ones are free. Free from debt. Anxiety. Stress. Fear. Failure. Indignity. Betrayal. How many wish they were born knowing what they know now? Ask yourself, how many would do things the same way all over again? And how many would live their lives like me?”
When we heard this speech in theaters, it had the exact effect we think the writer was going for – it made us reflect on our own lives, our assumptions about other people, our obligations, our debts, and the worries that plague us every day. Helen probably wasn’t too pleased to be reminded of her massive student loan debt from that law degree! It made us wonder – what would it be like to live a life like Reacher? No luggage, no baggage, only responsible for oneself, and bound only by an internal sense of duty that transcends societal norms, legal boundaries, and even the discipline of the service to which he has (until recently) dedicated his life. For most adults, it would probably be impossible without breaking a few laws and going into bankruptcy. But even so – we’re pretty sure 99% of people watching the film would have said, “Yes – I wish I was born knowing (at least some of) what I know now.” It’s some pretty toothsome food for thought!
The Cult of Nice is BULLSHIT.
Reacher is not a nice guy. He’s a good guy, but he’s not nice. And, believe it or not, world? THAT’S OKAY! Culturally, many of us have reached a place where it’s taboo to be angry. It’s socially unacceptable to insist on your own rights. Hell, it’s socially unacceptable to send back your food at a restaurant when it’s wrong. Being “mean” is the worst thing you can do. Some people behave as if it’s worse than actually committing a crime. In fact, if someone attacks you and you bite back, YOU are the one who has done wrong. YOU need to rise to the occasion and “be the better person”.
For Reacher? That’s a bunch of bullshit. We can see he’s not about being nice when he first meets Helen Rodin and (quite hilariously) walks away from her before she can get more than a single word out. He’s not exactly sweet to Sandy (though he does try to help her), and he never pulls his punches, physical or verbal, with anyone he meets. And as for people actually trying to attack him? Hey, get out of his way! He will not allow himself to be run over by anyone. And that’s what we like so much about him.
As Tom has said in interviews, there’s a sense of “wish fulfillment” in these movies, and it comes from the fact that Jack Reacher will not let people get away with… jack. (Sorry, we punned, we will sit in a corner for a few hours as penance.) People experience unfairness and injustice all too often. Sometimes, the innocent are “proven” guilty, and sometimes, people perpetuate crimes against each other and get away with it – either through loopholes, or because the laws we have just don’t cover all the bases. In our lives, your lovely hostesses at Buttered Popcorn have been stolen from multiple times – had a cell phone ripped out of our hands, had our house robbed, had chained bikes stolen from our backyard, had cars (plural) stolen. And the law was not able to catch the criminals in any of those cases. It’s not the fault of the police and/or detectives. They do their best, but sometimes, that’s just how it is.
That’s when it pays to be Reacher. “He doesn’t care about proof. He doesn’t care about the law. He only cares what’s right.” He will get the bad guys, and he will show no quarter. That fiery sense of injustice, where you are looking someone in the eye and you know they’ve wronged you, they know they’ve wronged you, and they have that smug satisfaction because they know they’ve gotten away with it? Yeah. Reacher doesn’t have to deal with that crap. EVER. He’s the kind of guy we’d all love to be once in a while, and that’s why we love watching him deal out his own brand of justice! Think you’re going to get away with murder while Reacher is around? Think again. (Heh. Just ask the Zec.)
- “I’m just a guy who wants to be left alone.” (Reacher to Sandy)
- “Weird meeting you.” (Emerson to Reacher)
- “Always the bullet. I don’t understand.” (The Zec)
- “I’m sorry, could you please put a shirt on?” (Helen to Reacher)
- “Am I stealing your car?” “Use it as LONG as you like!” (Reacher and Sandy’s “brother”)
- “You think I’m a hero? I am not a hero. I’m a drifter with nothing to lose.” (Reacher to Charlie)
- “One look at this guy and you know he’ll do anything to survive. One look at me and you know I’m not bluffing.” (Reacher to Helen about The Zec)
- “I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot.” (Reacher to Charlie)
Favorite Character: Jack Reacher! Duh! Here’s a few (more!) great things about Jack Reacher:
- He’s funny. Reacher has great sense of humor, and a great sense of comedic timing. And of course, it’s kind of funny just seeing him calmly beat down his enemies, after casually explaining precisely how they’re going to go down.
- He’s kind. Yes, we said it. And yes, we remember saying that he’s not concerned with being nice. Being nice and being kind are different, and Reacher shows his kindness in the way he cares about people – even when they’ve wronged him. He wasn’t nice to Sandy. He intentionally played head games with her and insulted her, because he knew she was plotting against him. But he also warned her to leave town when he recognized that she was in danger.
- He’s fair. Reacher had every reason to believe that Barr was guilty. Barr got away with murder before, and Reacher is determined that it won’t happen again. But when the evidence points to a different answer, Reacher doesn’t let his dislike of Barr, nor his anger that Barr got away with his former crime, blind him to the truth. Barr is innocent in this case, and Reacher will fight to prove it. That’s just the kind of stand-up guy he is!
Behind the Scenes Trivia:
- Tom Cruise read all of the Reacher books that were available at the time, while prepping for this role.
- Tom did all of his own driving for Jack Reacher. Director (and screenwriter) Chris McQuarrie had the unique challenge of finding ways to show the audience who was driving, rather than trying to hide the fact that the actor wasn’t in the car.
- During the car chase, Reacher’s car stalls out after he exits a tunnel, and Reacher must struggle to get the car back in gear before the police catch him. This moment was unscripted. The car actually stalled while they were filming the sequence, and Tom was urgently trying to get it started again so that they wouldn’t waste the take. McQuarrie loved the moment so much, he decided to keep it.
- All the footage from Alexia Fast’s performance as Sandy in “the auto parts store” was lost, and she had to be called in to do the whole scene over again. Tom and McQuarrie said she had a great attitude and never complained about having to re-shoot.
- Rosamund Pike was pregnant during filming, and they were forced to run a very tight schedule so that they could film all her scenes before she started to show. During the scene where her father and Emerson are in her apartment, she is already showing, and uses her long sweater to hide it. Near the end of the movie, when Reacher, Cash and Helen are talking after the dust has settled, the shots behind Helen were filmed by a body double. Rosamund had already left the set to have her baby.
Pic Spam! Here’s a bunch of pics we liked! (We capped them all ourselves!)
Watchability level: HIGH!
Buttered Popcorn recommends that you watch this movie! It’s funny, it’s full of action and great fight scenes, and the mystery behind the crime is always there, driving the action, and keeping us wondering! And you get to see Tom Cruise doing lots of dry humor, which tickles us lots!
Re-watchability level: HIGH!
First of all, Jack Reacher slamming phones down and threatening to drink people’s blood from boots? We could watch that on repeat all day long. But seriously… No, wait, we were totally serious. Anyway!! This movie has a nice twist that makes re-watching a must! Watching again, you will be able to see the actions of some characters in a new light, and that extra flavor is what re-watchability is all about!
Final Verdict: Jack Reacher is BADASS! Badass is good!
So! Take yourself to Amazon, or wherever you prefer to buy movies and grab this movie up. Then melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and prepare to have yourself an ass-kicking, finger-breaking, throat-punching good time! And if you’re in the mood for some equally action-packed reading, check out the novel series that started it all. Lee Child has written nearly two dozen Reacher books and stories, so there’s plenty to tide you over until we get a third movie! Click the images below for more information.